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這兒是紐約 E. B. White 翻譯:陸谷孫 On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy. It is this largess that accounts for the presence within the city's walls of a considerable section of the population; for the residents of Manhattan are to a large extent strangers who have pulled up stakes somewhere and come to town, seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail. The capacity to make such dubious gifts is a mysterious quality of New York. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky. 對于任何企求這類離奇獎賞的人,紐約會送上兩件禮物:孤寂和私密。正是這種大度解釋了城市人口中相當一部分人的存在,因為曼哈頓居民中多的是異鄉 客,他們背井離鄉,到這兒來尋求庇護,或實現抱負,要不就是追求別的什么大大小小的目標。得以向人送上如此不成其為禮物的禮物,乃是紐約一種謎一般的特 質,它可毀掉一個人,也可成全他,很大程度上全看此人運氣如何。不愿交好運的人可別來紐約居住。 New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader, and the merchant. It carries on its lapel the unexpungeable odor of the long past, so that no matter where you sit in New York you feel the vibrations of great times and tall deeds, of queer people and events and undertakings. I am sitting at the moment in a stifling hotel room in 90-degree heat, halfway down an air shaft, in midtown. No air moves in or out of the room, yet I am curiously affected by emanations from the immediate surroundings. I am twenty-two blocks from where Rudolph Valentino lay in state, eight blocks from where Nathan Hale was executed, five blocks from the publisher's office where Ernest Hemingway hit Max Eastman on the nose, four miles from where Walt Whitman sat sweating out editorials for the Brooklyn Eagle, thirty-four blocks from the street Willa Cather lived in when she came to New York to write books about Nebraska, one block from where Marceline used to clown on the boards of the Hippodrome, thirty-six blocks from the spot where the historian Joe Gould kicked a radio to pieces in full view of the public, thirteen blocks from where Harry Thaw shot Stanford White, five blocks from where I used to usher at the Metropolitan Opera and only 112 blocks from the spot where Clarence Day the elder was washed of his sins in the Church of the Epiphany (I could continue this list indefinitely); and for that matter I am probably occupying the very room that any number of exalted and somewise memorable characters sat in, some of them on hot, breathless afternoons, lonely and private and full of their own sense of emanations from without. 紐約把藝術、商業、體育、宗教、娛樂、金融融于一爐,將角斗士、福音布道牧師、贊助人、演員、股市黃牛和商賈各色人等推上同一個緊湊的舞臺。城市彰 顯的特點是帶有一種無法抹煞的陳年久遠的氣味,所以不管你坐在紐約的什么地方,你都會感受到偉大時代和荒誕行狀的回聲,還有那些奇人怪事和業績。此刻,氣 溫高達華氏90度,我正坐在中城區一家酒店叫人透不過氣的客房里,置身于通風井不上不下的位置。房間內外沒有空氣流動,可稀奇的是我卻能感受到周圍散發出 的氣息:此去22條馬路就是魯道夫•瓦倫蒂諾大殮前供人瞻仰的地方;8條馬路之外是內森•黑爾的刑場;5條馬路之隔有家出版社,就在那辦公室里歐內斯特• 海明威曾猛擊邁克斯•伊斯特曼的鼻梁;過去4英里,那曾是沃爾特•惠特曼坐著揮汗為布魯克林《鷹報》撰寫社論的地方;34條馬路之外是薇拉•凱瑟來紐約時 住過的那條街,在那兒她寫下了關于內布拉斯加的幾部作品;離此一條馬路之隔乃是馬塞林經常表演丑角的大馬戲場;36條馬路之外,歷史學家佐•古爾德曾在眾 目睽睽之下把一臺收音機踹成碎片;13條馬路之外是哈利•索奧射殺斯坦福•懷特的現場;距此5條馬路,是我當年當領座員的大都會歌劇院;克萊倫斯•戴的老子清洗罪孽的顯圣堂離這兒再遠也只須走過112條馬路。(就這類軼事拉一張單子可以長得沒完沒了。)依同理,我此刻置身其中的客房可能不知被多少顯貴和在 某一方面值得緬懷的人物占用過,其中某些人在炎熱又悶塞的下午,同樣感到落寞而離群,又滿懷各人對于從戶外傳來的人事影響的敏感。 When I went down to lunch a few minutes ago I noticed that the man sitting next to me (about eighteen inches away along the wall) was Fred Stone. The eighteen inches are both the connection and the separation that New York provides for its inhabitants. My only connection with Fred Stone was that I saw him in the The Wizard of Oz around the beginning of the century. But our waiter felt the same stimulus from being close to a man from Oz, and after Mr. Stone left the room the waiter told me that when he (the waiter) was a young man just arrived in this country and before he could understand a word of English, he had taken his girl for their first theater date to The Wizard of Oz. It was a wonderful show, the waiter recalled—a man of straw, a man of tin. Wonderful! (And still only eighteen inches away.) “Mr. Stone is a very hearty eater, ” said the waiter thoughtfully, content with this fragile participation in destiny, this link with Oz. 幾分鐘前我下樓進午餐,曾注意到鄰座(沿墻約18英寸之外)竟是弗雷德•斯通。這兒說的18英寸乃是紐約為其居民提供的人與人之間既聯系又分隔的距 離。我與弗雷德•斯通的唯一聯系是,大概在世紀初吧,我看過他在《綠野仙蹤》中的表演?晌覀兊氖虘驗樵诮嚯x接觸了一位“綠野人”,同樣大受激勵, 一俟斯通先生離去,便告訴我說,那還是他(指侍者)一個小伙子初來美國而且一個英文大字都不識的時候,和女友初次劇院約會看的戲。演出可精彩啦,侍者回憶 道,稻草人,鐵皮人。妙不可言。ㄈ栽18英寸之外)“斯通先生吃東西真是好胃口,”侍者若有所思地說,因為跟“綠野”扯上了關系而心滿意足,雖說那紐帶 一碰就斷,也算是有緣的參與吧。 New York blends the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation; and better than most dense communities it succeeds in insulating the individual (if he wants it, and almost everybody wants or needs it) against all enormous and violent and wonderful events that are taking place every minute. Since I have been sitting in this miasmic air shaft, a good many rather splashy events have occurred in town. A man shot and killed his wife in a fit of jealousy. It caused no stir outside his block and got only small mention in the papers. I did not attend. Since my arrival, the greatest air show ever staged in all the world took place in town. I didn’t attend and neither did most of the eight million other inhabitants, although they say there was quite a crowd. I didn’t even hear any planes except a couple of westbound commercial airliners that habitually use this air shaft to fly over. The biggest oceangoing ships on the North Atlantic arrived and departed. I didn’t notice them and neither did most other New Yorkers. I am told this is the greatest seaport in the world, with 650 miles of waterfront, and ships calling here from many exotic lands, but the only boat I’ve happened to notice since my arrival was a small sloop tacking out of the East River night before last on the ebb tide when I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I heard the Queen Mary blow one midnight, though, and the sound carried the whole history of departure and longing and loss. The Lions have been in convention. I've seen not one Lion. A friend of mine saw one and told me about him. (He was lame, and was wearing a bolero.) At the ballgrounds and horse parks the greatest sporting spectacles have been enacted. I saw no ballplayer, no race horse. The governor came to town. I heard the siren scream, but that was all there was to that—an eighteen-inch margin again. A man was killed by a falling cornice. I was not a party to the tragedy, and again the inches counted heavily. 紐約把離群索居的禮物和親歷參與的激動混合在一起。比之大多數人口密集的社區,紐約更能使個人(只要你愿意,而幾乎每個人都愿意并需要這樣)與外界 每一分鐘發生的所有群眾場面、殘忍暴行、精彩表演完全絕緣。我坐在這臭氣熏天的通風井處已有一會兒,城里可已發生了許多光怪陸離的事件。一名男子妒火中 燒,開槍射殺妻子。這樣的惡事竟不傳社區之外,僅在報上簡要提了一筆。我沒去趕熱鬧,我是說打我來此,世界上最為壯觀的飛行表演在紐約舉行,我沒去觀 摩,800萬居民中的多數人也沒去,盡管據說觀眾人數不少。我甚至沒聽見飛機的轟鳴,除去按常例從這兒通風井上空飛過的一兩次西去的商業航班。幾艘北大西 洋最大的海輪抵港復離港。我根本未予注意,大多數其他紐約人也是這樣。別人告訴我這兒可是全世界最大的海港,濱水碼頭區長達650英里,從許多域外異國駛 來的航船在此停泊。不過來此以后我也碰巧注意過一艘小小的單桅帆船,忽左忽右搶風駛出東河去。那是前天夜里的退潮時分,我正步行跨越布魯克林大橋。不過, 某日午夜,我也曾聽到“瑪麗王后”拉響汽笛,那聲音帶著濃濃的離緒,又有期盼和失落的全部蒼涼。國際獅子會在此開大會,我可一頭獅子都未見到。我的一個朋 友倒是見過一位,還把這人的模樣告訴了我。(是個瘸子,穿了件西班牙式的短上衣。)在球場和賽馬場有最盛大的體育比賽。我沒見過一名球員或一匹賽馬。州長 大駕光臨。我聽得警笛長鳴,所知也就僅限于此了——18英寸畫地為牢的又一明證。一名男子被墜落的屋檐砸死。我與這齣悲劇全無干系,以英寸度量的距離又一 次彰顯無遺。 I mention these events merely to show that New York is peculiarly constructed to absorb almost anything that comes along (whether a thousand-foot liner out of the East or twenty-thousand-man convention out of the West) without inflicting the event on its inhabitants; so that every event is, in a sense, optional, and the inhabitant is in the happy position of being able to choose his spectacle and so conserve his soul. In most metropolises, small and large, the choice is often not with the individual at all. He is thrown to the Lions. The Lions are overwhelming; the event is unavoidable. A cornice falls, that it hits every citizen on the head, every last man in town. I sometimes think that the only event that hits every New Yorker on the head is the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is fairly penetrating—the Irish are a hard race to tune out, there are 500,000 of them in residence, and they have the police force right in the family. 我提到這些事情只是為了說明,紐約的結構真是夠特別的,可以吸納幾乎任何一件發生在此的事情(不論是從東方駛來的長達一千英尺的班輪,還是一次從西 方來的兩萬人大會),而不使事情強行影響本市居民。結果,一應大事,在某種意義上,都成了市民本人的選擇,每個人都過著舒心日子,可以自行選擇參與哪一樁 盛舉,從而節約自己的精神支出。在大多數都市,不論大小,選擇往往由不得個人,你身不由己地被拉去參加獅子大會,獅群集會可是件壓倒一切的大事,躲也躲不 開的。倘有屋檐墜落,那就相當于砸在每個公民的頭上,沒有誰可以幸免。我有時想,真能砸到每個紐約人頭上的大事惟有一年一度的圣帕特里克節大游行了。這場 活動滲透到每個角落——愛爾蘭人容不得別人不把自己當回事,在全城居民中占了50萬,而家中干警察這一行的還特別多。 The quality in New York that insulates its inhabitants from life may simply weaken them as individuals. Perhaps it is healthier to live in a community where, when a cornice falls, you feel the blow; where, when the governor passes, you see at any rate his hat. 紐約城把居民與生活隔絕的特質可能只會弱化個體。也許,個人生活在一個這樣的社區更為健康:當屋檐墜落,應當感覺就像砸在自己頭上一樣;當州長路過,至少能見到他的帽子。 I am not defending New York in this regard. Many of its settlers are probably here merely to escape, not face, reality. But whatever it means, it is a rather rare gift, and I believe it has a positive effect on the creative capacities of New Yorkers—for creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions. 我不是在這方面替紐約辯解。在此定居的好些人之所以來這兒,可能僅僅是為了逃避而不是面對現實。但是,不管其含義究竟是什么,這份禮物相當難得。我還相信,這份禮物對于紐約人的創造能力大有裨益——因為所謂創造,部分的意思無非是摒棄大大小小讓你分心的事情。 Although New York often imparts a feeling of great forlornness or forsakenness, it seldom seems dead or unresourceful; and you always feel that either by shifting your location ten blocks or by reducing your fortune by five dollars you can experience rejuvenation. Many people who have no real independence of spirit depend on the city’s tremendous variety and sources of excitement for spiritual sustenance and maintenance of morale. In the country there are a few chances of sudden rejuvenation—a shift in weather, perhaps, or something arriving in the mail. But in New York the chances are endless. I think that although many persons are here from some excess of spirit (which caused them to break away from their small town), some, too, are here from a deficiency of spirit, who find in New York a protection, or an easy substitution. 紐約雖說時常給人一種沉重的失落感或被遺棄感,城市卻難得顯出死氣沉沉或一籌莫展的樣子,反倒是你總擁有一種希望:越過10條馬路搬次家,或是花去 5美元,就能重新煥發青春。許多缺乏獨立精神的人依賴城市巨大的多樣性和興奮源,來求得精神上的耐久力并保持振奮。在鄉下,青春得以突然重新煥發的偶然機 會不是沒有 —— 也許是天氣的驟變,要不收到一封讓你驚喜的郵件?墒窃诩~約,這樣的機會無窮無盡。在我看來,盡管有不少人是由于精神追求過度到這兒來的(這使他們逼著自 己離開小城),也有些人是因為精神貧乏到紐約來的,并在此找到了保護或是輕而易舉得到了易地取代的報償。
 
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